It’s a constant theme in conversations I hear: “I can’t afford to eat organic foods.”
That’s exactly what Nourished Kitchen is here to battle. Indeed, you can afford to buy organically grown fruits and vegetables as well as humanely raised animal foods. The truth is, because of their health benefits, you can’t afford not to buy them.
Purchase high quality ingredients. Saving money should come from proper kitchen management, not from skimping on the quality of food you purchase.
- Maintain an inventory of the foods in your pantry, cupboards, fridge and freezer. Evaluate the inventory monthly. This ensures that you know exactly what is available to you; it helps you to use foods before the expire and it helps to ensure that you do not purchase more than what you need. Have you ever found three open jars of peanut butter or two bottles of ketchup? Maintaining an inventory will stop that nonsense ultimately saving you money.
- Plan your meal in advance. Some cooks plan their menus monthly. Others plan weekly. It matters little how often you plan your menus, but it does matter that you plan them at all. Planning meals ensures that you use all your food before it goes bad; it provides creative uses for leftovers and it forces you to plan well-rounded meals. Planning your meals in advance keeps you from last minute dinners out or take-out orders thus saving you money.
- Plan your kitchen to-do list. Nourishing, traditional foods requires a lot more forethought and preparation than modern foods. Buy planning your to-do list and making sure those chores are completed, you ensure that you keep to your meal plan and you avoid last minute trips to the store or take-out joints which saves a lot of money.
Conservation in the Kitchen
- Use every bit of the food you bring into your home before relegating it to the compost heap.
- Save vegetable scraps like onion and garlic skins, leek tops, carrot peelings, celery leaves and mushroom stumps in a bag in your freezer. When the bag is full, make vegetable stock. This practice will save you as much as $3.69 a quart!
- Save bones from roast chickens or roast beefs in a similar fashion. Use these bones to make a mineral-rich bone stock.
- If you juice your fruits and vegetables, save the pulp to add to baked goods and vegetable soups.
- Save leftovers from your meals and eat them for lunch, or use them in different dishes.
- When you’ve exhausted its use, compost your waste.
Save on Energy Use
- Try to use your oven only once or twice a week. Ovens are notoriously inefficient, so if you can bake multiple items together or reserve one baking day a week you’ll save on energy.
- Eat plenty of raw foods–including animal foods. They’re rich in nutrients and enzymes. Plus, you eliminate the costs of cooking.
- Make friends with your slowcooker. Using your slowcooker requires less energy than your range or oven.
- Take up gardening. For the nominal cost of production, you’ll have access to healthy fruits and vegetables.
- Volunteer at a local farm. Many farmers need people to help with planting, maintaining and harvesting their food. You’ll enjoy a few hours in the sun and fresh air and come home with free organic produce.
- Volunteer at your farmers market. Farmers markets are nonprofit entities, and like all nonprofits they need volunteers. Ask if you can help with set up and break down, or see if you can man the informational booth. In appreciation of your service, many vendors will happily give you their surplus at the end of the day.
- Get to know the owner of your local health food store. Chances are they have plenty of food that they throw away, and you can probably get it for free.
- Buy foods in season and locally grown.
- Buy foods directly from the rancher or the farmer, thus eliminating the middlemen.
- Buy a pig, a 1/4 cow, a lamb from the rancher and store it in your freezer. It’s a big cost upfront, but it saves you money in the end.
- Shop the farmers market at the end of the day. Many vendors will discount their produce or give it away for free so that they don’t have to lug it home.
- Find a co-op or a buying club so that you can purchase your ingredients in bulk and at a lower price. This can save you several hundred dollars (or more) over the course of a year.